Friday, February 26, 2010

Is Christianity the end of Consumerism? (Part 1)

I just got back from a 10 day intensive face to face experience with my fellow students in the Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Formation and Leadership through George Fox Seminary and my head is absolutely swimming.

The content of my classes shared a focus on how our consumerism is an addiction in our culture and is utterly opposed to Jesus' teaching and purpose.

The system of capitalism is dying (or at least stalled). We can observe the breakdown of our economic system and infrastructure. Our economic system is based on consumption.

The fall of humanity found in Genesis is an act of objectification and consumption. According to the narrative, Adam and Eve objectified the fruit on the tree, consumed what they were forbidden to eat and suffered the breaking of relationship (trust, hope, union).

Jesus came to turn the systems of oppression upside-down. The sermon on the mount is a testament to the way the "Kingdom Economy" works. The least of these are the ones in control.

Jesus came to establish a new kingdom, here and now, based on everyone (all humanity) having their basic needs met.

I'm not sure how it all is going to work, but it seems to me that our system (capitallism) based consumerism and consumption must die if we are to follow Jesus.

I became aware of how much time energy and effort I make to buy things I don't need. My consumption deters what God wants to do in me, though me and with me in the world.

I am not what I buy or consume. I am responsible to be salt and light in the world. I am to value Kingdom Economy of Justice. I believe that the values of consumerism cannot stand for justice and that the our system rooted in consumerism is inherently unjust.

So what do we do in light of our consumeristic values that collide with Jesus mandate to care for the poor and oppressed? I think awareness of our own addiction to 'stuff' is a good beginning. The affect of our consumerism is rampant.

Will you join me in repentance? Are you aware of your consumption? Can we live in a "kingdom economy" and participate in an inherently unjust system of oppression? Why are we so attached to things? What values must change?